We are looking up to the wrong ‘feminists’ in music
Nobody can run the world covered in snot, crying and rubbing themselves with a foam finger
by Tara Keeney
I was taught that feminism meant strong, powerful women. Feminism wants to destroy patriarchy, break the glass ceiling and discourage misogynistic opinions.
However, among female artists today that message is confused and distorted, leading myself to ask – who are the real female feminists in music?
How are the likes of Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Beyonce all bracketing themselves into the same category as a symbol of female empowerment for girls all over the world?
Oprah Winfrey defined Taylor Swift as a ‘true, great role model.’ When delving deeper into Swifty’s career to establish where her role model qualities originated, it was evident she was just a lonely, horny loser that happened to strike lucky. Her lyrics are boy obsessed and had she not got famous it sounds like she would have spent her life broke from dating apps, until someone eventually swiped right back and she could stop crying.
So, how is she someone young girls look up to? How is she considered as much of a role model and symbol of female empowerment as the likes of Beyonce, Lauryn Hill or Lady Gaga? Swift sings about the struggles of high school (despite being home schooled) and the desperate struggle of waiting for a boy to call you back (change your data plan or make some girl mates). The only girl mentioned in her music is in her song ‘Fifteen,’ singing “Abigail gave everything she had to a boy, who changed his mind, and we both cried.” So, Abigail basically gave a boy her hymen and then he fucked off – woah, thank you Taylor for that powerful message.
Swift’s role model image comes from her innocent, pure, virgin persona, despite having been front page news with the likes of Joe Jonas, Jake Gyllenhaal, Taylor Lautner, Harry Styles, Calvin Harris etc etc etc. No wonder she’s so fucking skinny – she’s literally at it the whole time.
When Kanye stole Taylor’s microphone at the MTV awards, why did she just stand there like an absolute melon? Can you imagine Beyonce or Lady Gaga just standing there? They would have taken the microphone straight off him, called him an asshole and told him to sit right back down in his seat – like a true role model of female empowerment should.
Miley Cyrus calls herself one of the “biggest feminists in the world” because she tells women “not to be afraid of anything.” Again, this message of feminism I had so clearly been taught becomes distorted. Miley’s hyper sexualized music videos, where women are virtually naked, masturbating on stage, are a symbol of feminism because they are not afraid?
Exploiting her body shamelessly is what Miley is teaching young girls feminism is, because she is brave enough to get a foam finger and shove it up herself in front of thousands of people? Where are the real feminists I was taught to admire and why have we allowed these female artists to define what the term is for themselves?
When Beyonce was Taylor and Miley’s age, she was onstage with Destiny’s Child proclaiming “The house I live in / I’ve bought it / The car I’m driving / I’ve bought it / All the women who are independent / Throw your hands up at me!” and THIS is what we should be teaching young girls feminism is. She proudly says, “If a man can do it, a woman should be able to. It’s that simple.”
Throughout her whole career Beyonce has stuck to the same message: emphasizing the strength of women in her music, teaching them to empower one another and own their sexual power. “If I Were A Boy” highlights the unfair double standards women experience in relationships, “Single Ladies” promotes the value of knowing your worth and ‘Flawless’ suggests a “Feminist should be a person who believes in the social political, and economic equality of the sexes.” Beyonce recognizes she is a role model to women, promoting messages of female power, independence, liberation and equality between sexes. She does not teach women to degrade themselves by giving oral pleasure to a sledge hammer while swinging naked on a ball singing “I will always want you.”
Lauryn Hill is another artist who sent out messages of feminism. She was pregnant while creating her album, rejecting society’s sexist opinions that a woman must choose between family and a career, referencing in her lyrics those who told her to consider an abortion so she wouldn’t “ruin her career.” Again, these are messages of equality, strength and independence.
I agree that music is an art and all artists should be able to express themselves how they feel appropriate – but when you are a female role model to millions of young girls worldwide, why is there nobody there to prevent the message that the obsession with boys and over sexualization of your body has any relation to the term feminism.
In a society encouraging girl power, with the prospect of a female UK Prime Minister AND a female US president, we expect and in fact can be certain that these female leader’s attitudes will be strongly dissimilar to the likes of Taylor and Miley. Why, just because they are music artists and not politicians, should their message behind female empowerment allowed to be any different? The message behind feminism should be the same, regardless of the field these women come from.
The message of any female role model should be strength, power, determination, success and independence. That is what makes a feminist. So cut the crap and the confusion behind this heavily congested term.
Nobody can run the world covered in snot, crying and rubbing themselves with a foam finger.